We have all heard countless times over that we are to bear fruit as believers and not only bear it, but bear a whole lot of it. This in itself can be very challenging and time consuming.
It is for this very reason that many will give up and quit. Tending a garden takes time and tremendous effort. Even though Jesus is the master Gardener, we have to train our lives to bear the fruit that He wants to bring forth. We have to be constantly washed with the water of the word. We have to consistently feed our spirit the Word of God and we need fellowship of other like minded believers who can help us prune the places in our lives that need tweaking.
Jesus was very plain in Matthew when He spoke of what happens to a tree or vine that does not produce good fruit. The whole entire tree or vine will be cut down and thrown into the fire to be burned up.
Ouch I’m not lining up for that, are you?
Matthew 3:10 And now the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
The flip opposite is the one who is constantly and consistently pruning, adjusting, feeding and watering his tree or vine so that it produces maximum fruit.
Psalms 92:14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.
Here it plainly states that some will produce fruit all the way to the end and not just any kind of fruit. Fat and flourishing, run down your chin fruit.
Some years back as I was meditating on fruit as I had been for a number of years. I thought of how old Noah was when he entered the ark, Abraham when he had a child in his old age, Moses when he brought God’s people out of the promise land.
I was asking the Lord one day why some people had to wait until they were old to fulfill the promise God had over them. Then you read about others such as Joshua, David & Isaiah who were young when God began to work out His calling in them.
Now being a very deep thinker I do not come to conclusions off the cuff or randomly. I want to know the real truth, not someone’s perceived truth, but God’s truth and so I’ve meditated on stuff for years and have not received any clues as to what it means.
That’s okay because when He does choose to show me stuff it usually blows my mind. Like the fruit I’ve attempted to write about here.
So to be shorter than I normally am and basically to the point. I’m going to give you several kinds of fruit and you can come to the conclusions on your own between you & the Lord.
1. Lusciously ripe fruit
This is the fruit that is hand picked and fresh off the vine or tree. This type of fruit is so appealing you won’t even wash it most of the time before you devour it.
According to the Old Testament this is what they called the first ripe fruit. These are like the grapes clinging to the vine, oranges that hang on branches before the pickers come. Most of us want to be the first ripe fruits because it seems it is the most desirable fruit.
We could all probably think of several people we would associate with being first ripe fruit. They always seem to be on top of everything they do, in their hand is the power of King Midas’ touch and spirituality oozes from them in syrupy layers.
I’m willing to bet if you were to actually peel back the façade though, you would find the rotten remains of decaying fruit. You would smell the stench of decay and death they’ve so carefully attempted to hide. This is not real first ripe fruits and we need to know the difference.
There are a few precious saints who really and truly are first ripe fruits. The same people would be the very first to tell you that it came about after much broken-ness and emptying from the Lord. They would tell you of enduring faith in maddening darkness it seemed they would never burst forth from. They would tell you of a death and a rebirth, a process painful but complete.
These are the gems of our faith. They so often are lost in the maddening glare of others rotten fruit, the glimmer of false fruit showcased as pure and sweet. In our rush to adore the façade of polished people we brush right over a choice piece of fruit that came straight from God’s own table.
2. The Well Preserved Fruit
Now being from the south I can tell you a thing or two about preserves, If you have never laid your tongue on fresh batch of preserves you need to head on down south for a vacation. Hmm hmmm; Mayhaw, Plum, Strawberry, Apple Butter… the list goes on and my, my, my what you can do with fruit.
In the south we would say it taste so good it’ll make you slap your momma. Of course none of down here are really brave enough or stupid enough to slap our momma. This is solely a southern way of saying it was so good it is worth doing something stupid over.
The fruit that is used in preserves rarely is a first ripe fruit, but it is fruit that has matured a little longer on the vine. That’s where the rich flavor comes from. If you pick a piece fruit that is just ripe you enjoy it’s delicious goodness for a day or so but If you want to make some preserves that melt in your mouth like butter, you need to leave the fruit on the vine a little while longer.
Just a little tidbit about a favorite called watermelon. The reason most won’t get a really good watermelon to eat, is they rush to pick it based on size rather than on the curl connecting it to the vine. When the curl fall off the watermelon is good.
I’m partial to preserves (or jelly or jam according to your time zone) and as I grew up I was fascinated with the process of it all; from picking, adding the necessary ingredients at just the right time, to pulling it out of the hot water. People use pressure cookers nowadays but I remember a huge pot and some very hot water.
This kind of fruit process takes some effort before producing anything worth having. It stays on the vine longer and then the process it goes through to be palatable is lengthy and time consuming, not to mention hot. Yet, this kind of preservation allows the fruit to be used at the owners discretion. Unlike first ripe fruit which has to be eaten immediately or within a few short days. This type fruit can be eaten at the discretion of the diner. It can even be put away for years and eaten at a later date, still as fresh as the day it was put in the jars.
You see more of this kind of fruit especially from those who are serious about their faith and spend time meditating on God’s word. These are the ones who have passed the spotlight and dreams of fleeting fame and have pushed on to something deeper with meaning. Something that will endure trials and test and still be sweet and ready for use. God can plant all kinds of nuggets inside these types of fruits and bring them forth as needed, not only for themselves but for the body of Christ as a whole.
Now last on my personal list but certainly not least,
3. Dried Fruit
This kind of fruit, well let’s just say I’m not that huge a fan of. Not because it isn’t good or even good for me. It is really hard for me to chew and swallow at times and frankly I haven’t felt it worth the effort it requires to consume. There are some fruits like this that I do enjoy from time to time. Some good examples are raisins- formerly grapes. Cranberries are good in a fruit bar. For the most part I’m not going to sit down with a bag of dried fruit bag, raisin or otherwise. I’m just not that big a fan.
That’s not to say I don’t like fruit, on the contrary I love fruit. I especially love strawberries, watermelon, oranges & grapes..etc. It’s just that this type of fruit takes a special grace for me to eat. It is a fully matured fruit, wrought the fires of adversity. It usually bears the mark of extreme roughness and therefore comes across as uneasily palatable. Yet, it is a very sustainable and nutritious way to eat fruit.
This kind of fruit takes on another aspect of all the fruit. There are a few ways to achieve this goal. One, you could put them in a dehydrator and let it dry slowly or you can freeze dry it or you can bake it until it is crispy in nature. All of these various ways is a process that is meant to make the fruit last for longer periods of time, but in an altered form.
If you like this type of fruit I’m excited for you we all have our quirks about things we eat. I’m beginning to like it more and more, the more I see the value of what it has to offer nutritionally.
The one thing I do love about this fruit is it’s longevity. In a way similar to preserves you can keep this stuff around practically forever. Unlike preserves, this fruit doesn’t require a spoon and a piece of bread of some sort. It can be eaten fresh from a bag or tray.
The type of people who bear this fruit are typically the long distance runners. The ones who have set their face like a flint and are pressing hard for the mark. They are more interested in distance rather than speed. Time is of no consequence because they know the ultimate results.
We tend to scrutinize them and to deem them under-achievers. We often remark that they seem lazy or not a team player. What they bring to the table seems small especially in light of shiny piece of fruit, or the melt in your mouth preserves. We don’t see the hours of suffering they’ve endured to be able to be consumed.
I would suggest to you that this type of fruit is really close to God’s heart because He has purpose for them that is not short lived and easily forgotten.
- These are the behind the scenes warriors on their knees crying out to Holy God for mercy for others.
- The stand in the line serving the many homeless coming through the doors.
- The ones who open their homes and their hearts to the misguided, unfortunate and weak.
- Those behind the scenes cleaning the restrooms and vacuuming the floors, who are silently praying for the Pastor and for every person in the pew, to the nursery full of children, to the unborn child in every mothers’ womb.
The unsung heroes of faith, who for the joy set before them endure their crosses and set their eyes on the eternal home they will one day inherit.
The type of fruit I want to be, really is all three. It would be nice to be the first pickings and be able to have ready answer all the time, a constant walking in the anointing of God. Let’s face it though, there are drought seasons where there are no first fruits to be had. You have to rely on what has been preserved in you to sustain you.
I also long to be the dried out, baked fruit that is well able to endure, drought, storm, and flood and still be consumed as fresh as the day it was made. There are many virtues in all three, but grounded faith comes within the character of all three.
So I guess my question to you is this?
Which fruit are you really?
Honestly, there are times I don’t have anything but rotten diseased and worm infested fruit. Other times I carry the attributes of each stage of fruit. My heart is to have the attributes of all three fruits all the times that I may have something to give someone in need.
To do that I must follow these steps… Humbleness, perseverance, love and then ultimately obedience. But being honest I fail at that more often than I succeed. So I go to the Master Gardener in confession to find the grace to start over. Then I have to be more willing to give than receive, yet at the same time I have to receive instruction and correction and pruning in order to grow as I’m meant to grow,
I don’t care what anyone tells you , if you don’t take care of the tree or the vine the fruit will not be good. You may produce a few good pieces at times but your fruit will be mainly rotten and weak and good for no-one to eat.
John 15:4 tells us to abide in me, (that is Christ) and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
The key is always Jesus~ Stay in Him and let Him abide in you and you will produce so much good fruit in so many ways it will blow you away.
Okay so it didn’t turn out to be shorter after all. There is just so much good stuff I could say about fruit.
I challenge you to meditate on the fruit that you are producing and see how it measure up to God’s standard. Do you bear fruit worth picking, preserving or drying up for later use?
Father as we take a moment to examine ourselves I ask You that You come and breathe life into the fruit of our lives that may be dying. That You prune away what is already dead. We trust You that You have our lives perfected according to Your plan and I ask You for the strength and the courage to bear good fruit~
In Jesus Name ~ Amen
I’m hid with Christ~